Reading 5-7 Arsenal: Brian McDermott rues 'worst' defeat

By Nabil HassanBBC Sport at the Madejski Stadium
Reading players look shell-shocked at the final whistle

Reading boss Brian McDermott says his team's extraordinary 7-5 defeat by Arsenal is the "worst" of his career.

The Royals led 4-0 in the League Cup last-16 tie, but collapsed to 4-4 after 90 minutes before Arsenal progressed to the quarter-finals in extra time.

"It was kamikaze football. It was extraordinary," said McDermott. "It's the worst defeat of my career.

"It is embarrassing but we have to take it on the chin and move on. It's hard to take positives but we have to."

Reading appeared to be coasting towards a memorable victory after building a commanding 4-0 lead inside the opening 37 minutes through Jason Roberts, Laurent Koscielny's own goal, Mikele Leigertwood and Noel Hunt.

Goals from Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Koscielny gave Arsenal hope, before Walcott completed a remarkable comeback with a second-half injury-time equaliser.

It sent the tie into extra time, in which Marouane Chamakh put Arsenal 5-4 ahead before Reading striker Pavel Pogrebnyak equalised. But Walcott and Chamakh then booked the Gunners' place in the last eight.

However, McDermott was irked by Walcott's second goal, which came after the minimum four minutes of added time shown by the fourth official had expired.

"Obviously it doesn't help that the referee added two minutes on to the four minutes of injury time to make it six," he said. "You can't tell the time as wrong as that, but he did."

But he also rued Walcott's first, which he believes was pivotal in changing the complexion of the match.

He added: "I wasn't comfortable at 4-1. I don't know why, I just wasn't. We had to go in at 4-0. That gave them impetus they didn't need. It was suicide what went on in that second half and extra time."

Third-bottom Reading are yet to earn their first Premier League win of the season and travel to bottom-of-the-table Queens Park Rangers for a potential six-pointer on Sunday.

But McDermott insists his players will quickly pick themselves up from the bitter disappointment at the Madejski Stadium.

"At full-time nothing needed to be said to the players. Sometimes the less said the better. We know what happened."